Sunday, April 26, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
लोकतंत्र, अधिकार, विकास...कभी सुना है?
रेखा का बच्चा कुपोषित है. रेखा के शरीर में ख़ून की कमी है और बहुत मुश्किल से वो हमारे सामने बैठ पाती है. सूखी टाँगों और मुश्किल से खुलती आँखों वाले माँ-बेटे की आंखों में लोकतंत्र का एक अलग मायने दिखाई देता है.
रेखा सोनभद्र ज़िले की राबर्ट्सगंज लोकसभा सीट के घसिया बस्ती गाँव की रहने वाली है. ज़िला मुख्यालय से महज़ तीन किलोमीटर के फ़ासले पर स्थित इस गाँव में भूख और कमज़ोरी से 18 बच्चे मर चुके है. तीन महीने पहले के सर्वेक्षण में 43 बच्चे कुपोषित पाए गए हैं.
दिल्ली में सत्ता के गलियारों के गिर्द घूमते हुए जो लोकतंत्र हमें दिखाई देता है, उससे अलग एक और तस्वीर है दुनिया के इस सबसे बड़े लोकतंत्र की. यह लोकतंत्र रेखा और विशाल की सच्चाई वाला है. करोड़ों लोग इसी लोकतंत्र में जीने को मजबूर हैं.
विकास और जनसेवा के प्रमाण के लिए सरकारें स्मारक बनाती हैं, बड़े-बड़े शिलान्यास करती हैं पर इस गाँव में घुसते ही दिखता है भूख से मरे 18 बच्चों का स्मारक, भारतीय लोकतंत्र की एक कड़वी नंगी सच्चाई को बेपर्दा करता हुआ.
गाँव की एक महिला, फूलमती बताती हैं, "हम इलाहाबाद गए थे एक कार्यक्रम में. घर में बच्चों के खाने के लिए कुछ नहीं था इसलिए जाना ज़रूरी था. इस बीच मेरी लड़की ने एक बच्चे को जन्म दिया था पर हमारे पहुँचने से पहले वो और बच्चा मर चुके थे. लड़की को कुछ खाने को नहीं मिलने के कारण ख़ून की कमी और कमज़ोरी थी. इलाहाबाद वालों ने भी कार्यक्रम का पैसा नहीं दिया. पैसे से गए और बच्चों से भी."
वर्ष 2001 में इस गाँव में भूख से मौतों को सिलसिला शुरू हुआ. जब एक-एक करके 18 बच्चे मर गए तब प्रशासन की नींद खुली पर गाँव के लोग कहते हैं कि राहत फिर भी नहीं मिली.
आज भी 43 कुपोषित बच्चों, महिलाओं में ख़ून की कमी, पीने की बूँद-बूँद को तरसता, बिना स्कूल, स्वास्थ्य सेवा और रोज़गार के यह गाँव विकास, लोकतंत्र, नागरिक अधिकार जैसे शब्दों को सुनकर चौंक रहा है.
कलाकारों की बस्ती
तकलीफ़ तब और बढ़ जाती है जब पता चलता है कि यह कोई सामान्य गाँव नहीं, घसिया आदिवासियों का वो गाँव है जिसमें राष्ट्रीय स्तर के समारोहों में शामिल होने वाले करमा आदिवासी नृत्य के कलाकार बसते हैं.
राजीव गांधी और बाद के कई नेताओं के साथ लंच, डिनर कर चुके, देश के कई हिस्सों, आकाशवाणी और दूरदर्शन केंद्रों, नाट्य अकादमियों के मंच पर प्रस्तुतियाँ दे चुके गजाधर घसिया से मैंने पूछा कि चुनाव माने क्या..?
गजाधर घसिया कहते हैं, "हम चुनाव से क्या समझें. वोट माँगने लोग आते हैं. बड़े बड़े नेता... लेकिन काम के लिए कोई सुनवाई नहीं है. हम कलाकार हैं, पर दाने-दाने को मोहताज हैं. बच्चे भूख से मर गए. हम भी ऐसे कब तक जिएँगे. सरकार यह समझती ही नहीं है कि ग़रीबी क्या होती है. हम क्या खाते हैं, कैसे जीते हैं. कैसे मरते हैं."
गजाधर की यह व्यथा कथा इस गाँव के 65 घरों की सच्चाई है. 400 की आबादी वाले इस गाँव के लोग झाड़ू बनाकर, मज़दूरी करके अपना गुज़र-बसर करते हैं.
जंगलों में रह रहे इन आदिवासियों ने अब से क़रीब 11 साल पहले इस जगह को अपना डेरा बनाया. वो भूख और ग़रीबी का मार झेल रहे थे. काम खोजते और रोटी, स्वास्थ्य पाने के लिए ये लोग यहाँ आए. पर बदले में जो स्थिति है, वह और भी दर्दनाक है.
जंगलों में वापस जाने का विकल्प छिन चुका है. यहाँ अब तक सुविधाओं के न्यूनतम स्तर के लिए संघर्ष जारी है.
सुखन के चार बच्चे हैं. एक बच्चा भूख से मर चुका है. वो कहते हैं, "जब वोट का मौक़ा आता है तो नेता लोग बहला फुसलाकर वोट ले लेते हैं. अधिकारी भी आते हैं पर वोट के बाद जब रोज़गार, सुविधा माँगने जाते हैं तो अपमान के सिवाय कुछ नहीं मिलता. पढ़े-लिखे लोग केवल फुसलाते हैं. झूठा आश्वासन देते हैं."
'काम नहीं माँगा होगा'
गांव के कई युवाओं का रोज़गार गारंटी कार्ड बना हुआ है पर आज तक उन्हें काम नहीं मिल सका है. कई बार शिकायत करने पर भी. पर ज़िले के अपर ज़िलाधिकारी (एडीएम) हमसे कहते हैं कि उन्होंने काम माँगा ही नहीं होगा, इसीलिए काम नहीं मिला.
गाँव में सरकारी सुविधाओं के नाम पर केवल एक हैंड पम्प है जिसमें पानी नहीं आता. एक आंगनबाड़ी केंद्र है जिसे गांव के लोगों ने समाजसेवी संगठनों के सहयोग से बनाया है. इसमें आंगनबाड़ी का कार्यक्रम चल रहा है. स्कूल अबतक नहीं था. एक समाजसेवी संस्था की ओर से इस गांव से स्कूल का निर्माण करा दिया गया है पर प्रशासन अबतक पढ़ाई शुरू नहीं करा पाया है.
गांव से पहली बार वोट डाल रहे विजय कुमार घसिया से हमने पूछा कि किस भरोसे के आधार पर वोट देंगे. किसे चुनना है इस चुनाव में. वो सोच में पड़ जाते हैं. कहते हैं, "अब क्या कहें... कोई समझ में नहीं आता. जो घर दे, रोज़गार दे, उसे ही देंगे पर मिले तब न."
विजय को नहीं मालूम कि यह चुनाव दिल्ली के लिए है या लखनऊ के लिए. किस पार्टी का क्या मतलब है और कौन क्या कहता, करता है. उसे बस आस है कि कभी कोई नेता उसकी भी सुध लेगा. विजय की इसी महीने शादी हुई है. अब उसका नया घर बसा है पर लोकतंत्र की छाँव उसके गाँव पर नहीं पड़ती. गृहस्थी झुलसती नज़र आती है.
ज़िले के और आला अधिकारी चुनाव की तैयारियों में लगे हैं. हमसे बात करने के लिए तैयार नहीं है. ख़ासकर इस मुद्दे पर. चुनाव के समय में घसिया बस्ती की कहानी छोटे से एक इलाक़े की कहानी है पर लोकतंत्र की एक बानगी यह भी है. बानगी पूरे बर्तन की कहानी कहती है. घसिया बस्ती का सच लोकतंत्र की राह देख रहा है शायद...
India Government must ratify CAT
Jan Ole Haagensen 18/4/2009 10:03:28 AM(IST)
First and foremost I would like to use the opportunity to address the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights and give my heartiest congratulations on organizing a National Consultation on ”Testimony to improve psychosocial wellbeing and promote advocacy for survivor of torture and organized violence”. Both as an individual and official representative for RCT I can say that I am truly grateful to be a part of this event.
The background for this event is in fact sinister because it relates to the practice of torture. If there were no torture then we could attend to other businesses. But torture exist also in India and we are today getting a fuller view – thanks to among others the Study funded by the EU and Frederich Neuman Foundation undertaken by Indian organizations under the leadership of Peoples Watch - and the view is in fact disturbing. Torture and organized violence in India is many-sided and used in different settings and by different social actors. A rough categorization could be to differentiate between the uses of torture in relation to open ongoing violence in contested geographical areas and communal violence - but what is – perhaps – most disturbing is the sad fact that within the police force, torture appears to be looked upon as a standard operating procedure in investigations of crime. Yet there are no excuses for torture. It is a barbaric practice not permitted according to UN HR Declaration nor as a rule of customary international law, and the recognition of the prohibition of torture as a peremptory norm of general international law, binding on all states whether or not they are parties to treaties which contain the prohibition. And the results of using torture are poor vis-à-vis other more humane police techniques which in Europe sometimes comes under the heading Good policing. Finally, one could question whether these colonial practices are befitting a country with a long democratic history and on the path of rapid modernization.
Torture is considered so common that it even is depicted in the world famous movie ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’ showing scenes from a police station in Mumbai. Even though this is merely fiction the storyline is sadly enough not far from reality. This reality will have to alter.
India signed the UN Convention Against Torture in 1997 yet more than 10 years later the same is still to be ratified and this is despite the fact that India is a member of UN Human Rights Council. In its UNHRC pledge letter India made no specific references to UNCAT or the critical issue on how to reduce torture in India. According to a source in the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs the reason for not ratifying UNCAT is – and I quote ‘due to the extra burden of reporting’!
At the domestic level, there is no legislative definition of torture, nor is there a law identifying torture as a crime in India. There is neither a system for victim and witness protection.
The only statutory remedy in India is to raise a complaint with the Human Rights Commission; however the national Human Rights Commissions are being criticized for often being politically biased and inefficient. The fact remains that India does not have the appropriate mechanism in place to deal with the problem of torture.
India is a country with a population of more than .1.2 billion people that is finding its due role in the world, and in this new role torture does not tally. USA another big democracy is these days going through a painful exercise of cleaning up after torture practices permitted by the past president. The practices have cost US a lot morally in the country itself and in the world. The practices have to be stopped and removed at once – otherwise history shows they will spread like cancer to the whole society.
Throughout my time working and researching in India I have had the privilege of meeting many organizations that do an amazing piece of work in relation to advocacy and rehabilitation. Even though the many challenges and barriers in India, I would like to say that seeing the great work these organizations I fell comfortable that things will improve and the decision makers will give the area a higher priority. I feel honored to have gotten to know more about these organizations and I truly hope that we will have the opportunity to work more closely together in the future.
Let me share with you a bit of the organization where I come from.
RCT has since 1982 worked for freedom from torture through treatment, training and prevention. We are Danish non-profit, private organization independent of party politics which treats refugees exposed to torture and subsequently and been granted asylum in Denmark (among these there have been several Indians as well). Furthermore, RCT accompany with technical and financial support national organizations in areas where people suffer from torture and organized violence. Most often, the working relationships are partnerships that stretch over several years. It is a long struggle.
The development activities of RCT are currently being implemented in 14 countries covering Africa (Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zimbabwe), Asia (India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Cambodia), Latin America (Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala), the Middle East (Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Areas) and Europe (Albania). In its development programme RCT works through local partner organizations using a rights-based approach in relation to rehabilitation and prevention. This includes capacity development, and support to advocacy and service delivery.
The international fight against torture is a key priority in the Danish foreign policy since torture is one of the gravest human rights violations. Therefore, RCT gets funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its international work including research and knowledge generation. Much more knowledge is needed to fight torture and rehabilitate torture survivors. Nevertheless, in the Danish context we undertake advocacy as well to ensure that Denmark constantly is in the forefront in relation to the prevention of torture and not sidelined due to other political motives. Torture does not fit to the values and standards of the modern world.
Any attempt to prevent such gross violations of Human Rights and to promote and improve psychosocial wellbeing and promote advocacy for survivor of torture and organized violence, is a great service to humanity. In the cooperation with PVCHR psychotherapeutic treatment to survivors of torture is provided. One of the methods being used is testimonial therapy, which has been rather successful in other countries. For instance victims treated with testimonial therapy demonstrated significant improvements in World Health Organization indicators for human well being (WHO 5). All of them expressed their satisfaction with the process, especially the public delivery ceremony. Survivors treated that by recording their stories and externalizing their private pain, survivors reframed their experiences to take on a social meaning within the context of human rights affirmation, and thereby regained their self-esteem and dignity. Therefore, what makes this method particularly interesting for human rights organizations is the fact that it integrates the preventive aspect with the therapy –it is healing, empowering, and it advocates for justice. .Together with PVCHR and Indian version has been developed.
At this meeting several organizations will present their experiences with testimonies both as advocacy and healing. And I look forward to hear more about these and the following discussions.
I sincerely hope that this national consultation can contribute to the grand efforts that organizations around in India are doing, and I believe many positive things will come out of this consultation and new connections will be made.
Once more I am grateful to be here and see you all here. Thank you.
Dr. Jan Ole Haagensen, Ph.D. Director, International Department Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT) Denmark
Dear Prime Minister,
Please see email from Mr. Montu, who is part of national alliance on testimony therapy (NATT).It is serious matter. I am looking that it is the racist attack on Manipurians. Please save the life of innocent people.
With warm regards,
I am attaching the press release and news coverage by the rights group in Manipur against the "operation summer storm" by the army in loktak national park area. this operation is continued since 6 days and displaced more than 3000 (including children and women) villagers from the operation area and its gross violation of human rights and child rights in the area.
P R E S S R E L E A S E
The ongoing “Operation Summer Storm” being carried out by Indian Security Forces in Loktak lake including Keibul Lamjao National Park areas grossly violated the fundamental rights of the children of the surrounding villages such as Ithai, Khordak, Arong Nongmaikhong and Laphupat Tera. The members of Fact Finding team of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR) and Coalition on Children’s Right to Protection (CCRP) who visited the areas on 19th April, 2009 found that besides the 3000 displaced villagers, there were as many as 1300 schools going children reading in 6 (six) different schools who could not attend their schools due to the impact of the ongoing operation. The name of the schools being closed due to the “Operation Summer Storm” are Nongmaikhong Jr. High School, Emanual Grace Academy Nongmaikhong, Nongmaikhong Govt. L.P. School, Nongmaikhong Girls Primary School (aided), Eden Garden English School, Laphupat Tera Khunou L.P. School. It may be worth to mention here that, one Balika UJB School situated at Sekmaijin having more then 100 students has been occupying by security forces since 28th March, 2009 till date. We demand to vacate the school immediately which has been occupied by the security forces to restore the normal class at the earliest.
The prolonged closure of educational institutions on the eve of their term end exams is a vivid example of violation of the Fundamental Right to Education of children as enshrined in Indian Constitution as well as United Nation’s Convention of Rights of the Child (CRC). Besides unprecedented large deployment of armed personnel, indiscriminate firing of heavy artilleries, constant aerial surveillance, and intrusion of army into the civilian areas drastically traumatized the children both psychologically and physically. There is high possibility of epidemic outbreak such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentry, typhoid as the relief camps are highly congested with poor sanitary conditions. Many children are found lying on the floor with signs of weak health. Urgent action from the concerned authorities is highly needed. It will definitely impact long term psychological drawbacks to the young children. Hence the two child rights bodies hereby appeal to call off the ongoing “Operation Summer Storm” with immediate effect. We demand to restore peace and normalcy of the surrounding villages so that children could go to their schools without fear again.
We appeal to Stop Operation Summer Storm immediately
We condemn using human seals and forced labour
Restore Peace and start Educational Institutions working
Save both lives of Humans and Sangais.
Bodies up in arms against Loktak Operation
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, April 20 2009: Even as displaced students staged a Wakat Meepham demanding the ongoing Operation Summer Storm of the Army at Keibul Lamjao National Park of Loktak lake be stopped and allowed them to go to school and attend normal classes, students bodies like All Manipur Students' Union (AMSU) and Democratic Students' Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) as well as child rights bodies like Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR) and Coalition on Children's Right to Protection (CCRP) have contended that the ongoing operation is in violation of the fundamental rights of the children of surrounding areas.
Demanding the ongoing Operation Summer Storm be stopped and allowed them to study in peace, a large number of displaced students today staged a Wakat Meepham at Ithai Pouoibi Community Hall today.
Students from schools in Ithai area also participated in the protest demonstration expressing solidarity to the cause of their displaced counterparts. Over students participated in the demonstration putting up placards inscribed with slogans like 'Stop Operation Summer Storm', 'Allow us to go to school and study peacefully', 'Students are the future pillars of the society', etc.
Meanwhile, maintaining that the ongoing Army operation at Loktak lake has deprived education of many children in the surrounding villages, All Manipur Students' Union (AMSU) and Democratic Students' Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) have appealed to suspend the operation at once.
Addressing a press conference jointly at the head office of AMSU here today, the leaders of the two student bodies have also called upon the State Government for taking up necessary measures in this regard.
HRD secretary of AMSU Dipaljit Ningthoujam asserted that ongoing Army operation is in violation of the Common Article-III of the Geneva Convention and the guidelines to be observed during non-conventional war have not been respected.
Apart from displacing many villagers and using innocent civilian as human shields by the Army, the ongoing operation has deprived the children of their rights to education, Dipaljit said, adding that a serious threat has also been posed ion the habitat of the rare and endangered species of Sangai at Keibul Lamjao National Park.
Education secretary of DESAM A Thoithoi pointed out that the ongoing operation is against the public demand for making education a free zone.
He also decried the Education Minister of the State Government for not coming out with any statement from his side inspite of the fact that the students of the surrounding villages have not attended their schools for more than one week now.
This shows that he is not fit to be the Education Minister, Thoithoi added.
On the other hand, two child rights bodies, namely Coalition on Children's Right to Protection (CCRP), Manipur and Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR) have contended that the ongoing operation has violated the fundamental rights of the children of the surrounding villages like Ithai, Khordak, Arong Nongmaikhong and Laphupat Tera.
In a joint statement, CCRP convenor S Sharaju Devi informed that members of the Fact Finding team of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR) and Coalition on Children's Right to Protection (CCRP) visited these areas yesterday and found that besides the 3000 displaced villagers, there are as many as 1300 school going children reading in 6 different schools who could not attend their schools due to the impact of the ongoing operation.
Listing the names of the schools that have been forced to close due to the ongoing operation as Nongmaikhong Junior High School, Emanuel Grace Academy, Nongmaikhong Government LP School, Nongmaikhong Girls' Primary School (Aided), Eden Garden English School, Laphupat Tera Khunou LP School, the CCRP convenor lamented that one Balika UJB School situated at Sekmaijin and having more than 100 students is being occupied by the security forces since March 28 .
Urging the security personnel to vacate the school and restore normal classes at the earliest, the convenor of the child rights body observed that prolonged closure of educational institutions on the eve of their term end exams is a vivid example of violation of the fundamental rights to education of children as enshrined in Indian Constitution as well as the United Nation's Convention of Rights of the Child (CRC) .
Besides unprecedented large deployment of armed personnel, indiscriminate firing of heavy artilleries, constant aerial surveillance and intrusion of Army into the civilian areas drastically traumatised the children both psychologically and physically, the child rights body asserted.
It also noted that there is high possibility of epidemic outbreak such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid among the displaced children as the relief camps are highly congested with poor sanitary condition.
During the visit of the Fact Finding Team many children were found lying on the floor with signs of weak health.
So urgent action from the authorities concerned is highly needed.
It will definitely impact long term psychological drawbacks to the young children.
Appealing to call off the ongoing Operation Summer Storm with immediate effect, the two child rights bodies have also demanded restore of peace and normalcy in the surrounding villages so that the children could go to their a schools without any fear again.
Meanwhile, Young Ideal Club cum Library, Social Educational Sports and Cultural Organisation, Young Guidance Club, Keibul Lamjao Women's Development Association, Keibul Lamjao Women's Development Welfare Association, Keibul Chingmei Development Organisation and Momnu Irikhombi Lup (Mikhol Keibul Branch) have announced their decision of launching various agitations in association with the people if the ongoing Army operation at Loktak Lake is not called off at once.
Source- IMPHAL FREE PRESS
Children worst affected by Loktak operation: rights groups
IMPHAL, Apr 20: The ongoing Operation Summer Storm being carried out by the security forces in the Loktak lake area including Keibul Lamjao National Park area grossly violates the fundamental rights of the children of the surrounding villages such as the Ithai, Khordak, Arong Nongmaikhong and Laphupat Tera.
The was stated by a fact finding team of the Manipur Alliance for Child Rights, MACR, and Coalition on Children’s Right to Protection, CCRP, who visited the area on April 19 and found that besides the 3000 displaced villagers, there were as many as 1300 school going children studying in six different schools which were closed due to the operation.
The schools which have been closed because of the operation are Nongmaikhong Junior High School, Emanual Grace Academy Nongmaikhong, Nongmaikhong Govt LP School, Nongmaikhong Girls Primary School, Eden Garden English School, Laphupat Tera Khunou LP School.
Further, the Balika UJB School situated at Sekmaijin having more than 100 students has been occupied by the security forces since March 28, the report from the team said.
The two bodies have made an appeal for the immediate calling off of the operation as the prolonged closure of the schools on the eve of the term exams was in gross violation of the fundamental rights of the right to education of the children.
The heavy deployment of the security forces and firing of heavy artillery etc. had traumatised the children who were also open to threat from epidemics at the relief camps which are highly congested with poor sanitary conditions, it said while stating that many children were found lying on the floor at the relief camps with signs of weak health.
Monday, April 20, 2009
PVCHR is taking the testimonies of the dalits, poor, deprived and marginalized people, which is used to convert the individual pain into political campaign. Aljazeera channel has published the story of people described through testimony. below is the link of about story published in Aljazeera:
Story on Aljazeera:
AHRC issued Hunger Alert on the reportings of PVCHR in which PVCHR raised the issue of right to food of dalit. the dalits people are still facing scarcity of food in lack of land. Below is the link of urgent appeal issued by AHRC on Dalit issue of land:
we downloaded the application written to the Secretary (education)of UP to spread awareness among the dalit and to annex them with mainstream. below is the link of the application:
Summary of the broadcasting program by WDR5 on 12.04.2009
Original title: Indiens neue Armut
Folge 1: Hunger: Indiens Weber vor dem Aus
Von Achim Nuhr
India’s new Poverty
Volume 1: Hunger: India’s weavers to teeter on the brink of collapse
By Achim Nuhr tiredness
Achim Nuhrs broadcasting program starts with the summary of an interview with Mohamad Idris who is a weaver in Lotha, Varanasi. Mohamad Idris explains that the living conditions of the weavers have deteriorated in the past 10 years and that many of them are now unemployed and facing problems due to hunger.
He speaks about the once flourishing and exporting silk industry which is now teetering on the brink of collapse. He lets Mohamad Idris speak about the last days in the life of his 2 year old son who died due to a lack of red blood cells which is a common symptom of malnourishment. He explains how he and his wife struggled to save him and provide him with blood donation and that the neighbours collected some money for his treatment but could not save him.
Following there is a description of the town of Varanasi, its geographic location, historical, cultural and touristy importance. He speaks about the aim of India to be well reputated because of economic development and as a tourist destination. The reports of hunger would cast a dark shadow above this image. Therefore politicians and the administration want to keep reports of this silent. There are no official statistics about starving people or people who have died due to starvation and the authorities are even denying well documented cases. But in India, unlike other developing countries there is a free press and there are action groups who can try to open up problems to the general public, but they are facing many difficulties.
Mohamad Idris tells that prior to the death of his son some journalists had come and published about the problems of his family. After this the chief municipal director visited him and helped to take his son to the hospital where he was beaten by the doctor for not feeding his child properly.
Later on Nuhr speaks about the changing economic policies of India who have so badly affected the weavers in Varanasi. Since the 1990s many of the actions for protecting traditional artwork have stopped or changed. The Varanasi weavers had a monopole on some traditional dresses like wedding saris, so they where protected by law from the competition with machines and there have been high prohibitive taxes to protect them from international concurrence. But in the 1990s India started an economic reform focused on liberalisation of the capitalist sector. The weavers who have been protected from the world marked for a long time where thrown at his mercy.
Following there is an Interview with JNU based economic professor Ms. Jayati Ghosh who criticises the Indian economic policies. She speaks of the problems of the economic politics which are focused on large-scale enterprises and allow international imports. Both are able to sell there products to lesser prices because of large-scale production, subvention and better infrastructure, so they face lots of economic advantages compared to the small weaver. The main concurrent for the silk weavers are imports from China which have grown by a rate of 20% each year. Now the government again raised some import duties but is not able to stop this trend. Following many weavers are now unemployed and there looms are not working anymore. As a result they face hunger and there houses and surroundings are deteriorating as well. It follows a description of Lotha and the conditions of the infrastructure and facilities.
Some interview pieces of Lenin Raghuvanshi, who according to Achim Nuhr was one of the first to recognise that the situation of the weavers is deteriorating. He talks about a primary school PVCHR is supporting since the 1990s and that suddenly, due to economic necessarily, the children of the weavers did not attend school anymore. They had to help earn money because the prices per piece had fallen drastically. The situation went worse after 2001 and the first manufactures closed down which lead to hunger, starvation, death and suicide.
Nuhr talks about the high suicide rate in India and stresses that suicides compared to death due to hunger is not denied by the authorities. Only small NGO’s like PVCHR are documenting the situation of hunger and try to publish the stories of the victims. According to Achim Nuhr PVCHR has counted 14 starved children in the neighbourhood of Mohamad Idris. Lenin Raghuvanshi stresses that the authorities deny starvation as a cause of death; they are just willing to accept that people are facing hunger. In 2001 the Supreme Court decided that the authorities are in person responsible for every hunger death. According to Lenin Raghuvanshi this has made there work more difficult because now the persons in charge attack them directly and cause many problems.
After this, Nuhr speaks of his own experiences when he wanted to talk to authorities in Varanasi and various other places in India. The people refuse to give interviews or they deny everything. In 2001 there was an investigation by the Supreme Court of India into the question if malnutrition or starvation is existing in India. They found that in 21 states the situation is very bad, but till now, in reality only less has changed.
Nuhr describes the burdensome work of the Human Rights Groups who travel into remote areas to do documentation and have to do work which would be in the responsibility of the state but is not fulfilled by it. During this work they face severe Problems, and sometimes discover criminal doings where the accused may use rough means to come out of this situation.
It follows a detailed summary of the threats against Lenin Raghuvanshi related to his work in the village of Belwa. Prasad Tripathi, the local village head has threatened him and others and is forcing people to work in his brick factory. PVCHR has complained about him at the human rights commission of the United Nations. After this, Jean Ziegler, special correspondent for the right of food investigated into this case and reported to the plenary meeting of the UN about “neglect of duty” by the authorities which has lead to deaths due to starvation.
Nuhr talks about the lack of food in Belwa which he illustrates with the example of Ms. Kesmati who collects leftover rice on the streets to feed her children. One of her neighbours explains about loans they take from their employers and are forced to work for them until they have repaid all there dues.
Further on Nuhr explains about the malfunctioning systems of aid for the poor like minimum wages, ration cards, official abolishment of bonded labour and other likings.
Nuhr met with the local police but instead taking care of these malfunctions they are looking for Lenin Raghuvanshi who was accused of creating class conflicts and distributing pornographic pictures of Belwa children international. When asked if he has ever seen any of these pictures he has to deny this.
After returning to Varanasi, Nuhr gets the opportunity to talk to K. P. Berma, vice director of the department for handlooms. He says that there are no problems of hunger in Varanasi and that only less skilled persons are facing problems. All skilled workers will have enough work and food. K.P. Berma sends him to speak to one of “the really good weavers” Aftaba Alam. Aftaba Alam tells that he is lucky at the moment, because the products he is producing is selling good at the moment because it is considered “modern”. But this can change again as soon as it has changed last year. Before Aftaba Alam and his family were starving as well and he says that the situation can only be called better, when all weavers’ families are not starving anymore.
Nuhr finishes his report with a statement from Aftaba Alam stressing that they are lucky at the moment, but when the demands of the market will change they will starve again, as well as there neighbours.
Weaver story especially the plight of Dhannipur village came at Alzazira:
India's poor have little faith in politics
India's parliamentary elections kicked off this week, but many feel that the month-long democratic exercise will not bring about real changes.
The nation's poor say promises of aid made before elections are quickly broken, and the global financial crisis has made things even worse for people living in poverty.
Al Jazeera's Matt McClure spoke to textile workers in Varanasi to see how they are getting on.
Darkness at noon
14 Apr 2009, 2142 hrs IST, Binay Singh, TNN
VARANASI: The Robertsganj Lok Sabha seat (SC) in Sonebhadra district along with other parliamentary constituencies of the country is also going to poll in the first phase of elections on April 16 to form the 15th Lok Sabha.
But irony is that, the largest district of UP having big industries and huge mineral resources, still fails to feed its natives, comprising mostly tribal and dalits. Sonebhadra district is a power hub of the country with many electrical power stations, but about half of its villages are yet to be electrified -it is on the record of district administration.
Sonbehadra, the southern part of eastern UP, is commonly known as 'Sonanchal' (region of gold or Sone river) and 'Urjachal' (region of energy). But, majority of the populace, particularly living in remote areas and deep forests is yet to see the light of development, though to an outsider, it may appear as a prosperous region with broad roads, power plants and industries. For the common man, problems of poverty and unemployment are as pestering as it is anywhere. Besides, the constituency, which boarders with four states including Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattishgarh and Madhya Pradesh, has been facing a continuous threat from Maoist ultras.
"There are all components of development in this region like thermal power stations of the state and central governments, coal mines and other mineral resources, but the condition of majority of people is the same as it was before the last general election," said Rupesh Kumar, a local of Robertsganj. Most of the houses in rural areas are without electricity supply, though the district generates thousands of mega watts electricity. The common feeling in the region is that the politicians are more interested in winning equations than the real issues for the well being of poor and tribal people.
Hunger, poverty and starvation still prevail among the tribes and dalits in the district. "As many as 18 children died of hunger in Roupe village in 2001-02, and the situation is more or less the same today," said Lenin Raghuvansi of People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR). Though ration cards were provided to them after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took notice of the matter, the people were still half-starved, Lenin claimed.
Now, when the region is going to polls, the leaders and star campaigners of all political parties came to the constituency and addressed election rallies to woo voters in favour of their respective candidates. As many as 10 candidates are in the fray at this seat including Ram Shakal of Bhartiya Janata Party, Pakauri Lal Kole of Samajwadi Party, Ramchandra Tyagi of Bahujan Samaj Party and Ramadhar Joshep of the Congress. There are over 12 lakh voters and majority of them is tribal and dalits.
This seat had been a stronghold of the Congress, which lost to Janata Party in 1977. But, the Congress regained the seat in 1980 and 1984 elections. The BJP opened its account here in 1989 general elections and continued to reign till 1999 except a defeat in 1991. The BSP opened its account in 2004 general election.
for english : http://emagazine.digitaltoday.in/IndiaTodayEnglish/20042009/Home.aspx
for hindi : http://emagazine.digitaltoday.in/IndiaTodayHindi/20042009/Home.aspx
Shrutis' profile in India Todays
Thursday, April 16, 2009
“Testimonial therapy: to improve psychological well being among survivors of torture and organized violence in India”
Speeach of Jan Ole
Her Excellency Daniele Smadja, Ambassdor of European Union, Dr. Ketan Desai, President of Medical Council of India, Mr. Basil Fernando, Director of Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong, D.R. Kaarthikeyan Director, Central Bureau of Investigation, Director General, National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Subodh Raj Pyakurel, Chairperson:- INSEC, FORUM-ASIA, and Chief Justice Sri Rajendra Babu, Chairperson-National Human Right Commission-India, Ms. Sayeda Hameed, Member of Planning Commission gave her message and best wishes to PVCHR as given below:
Message of Sayeda Hameed
In the inaugral session of the consultation Mr. Jan Ole Haagensen also brief about RCT the link of his presentation is given below:
Jan Ole Delhi April 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
I am 19-year old Pintu and live in Kakrahi, Karma Police station, Robertsganj block, Sonebhadra district. I have 3 brother and 3 sisters. My father, Kallu alias Budhram, who is 45 year old, is a vegetable vendor. Like any other day on 11th September 2007, my father had gone to Sabzi Mandi (wholesale vegetable market) to purchase vegetable, while returning back one shopkeeper of the Mandi, Shambu Jaiswal and his accomplices, Munnar Mauraya, Rajesh Mauraya, Ram Lakshman Prajapati, Sudama alias Dasrath called my father and though bidding for the vegetable he did not purchase that and dragged him to house, closed the shutter and started raining incessant blows on him. Then, a man witnessing that came running to our house. He told that some people are thrashing our father.
At that time, I was wearing a lungi and standing at the door of my house. Listening that I got terrified and ran to the Mandi, there I heard my father was screaming beaten black and blue. I also got panicky, I started shivering in fear and I was not able to utter a single word. Seeing me shouting and crying, they left my father. Then, we rushed our father to a Government Hospital. After his treatment started, we went to the police station to file an FIR against those who had continuously beaten my father. SO in the police station asked for the original copy of the medical report. Then, we returned back. In the morning we went to the police station to hand over the medical report and file the FIR. The SO took away 2 copies of the medical which I was carrying and police took it away. Police in an abusive manner told us that don’t complain that your father was beaten mercilessly. Policemen started beating us and pushed behind the lock up. Frightened with that I started crying out of fear thinking how would be father and how the things would be at home. I was getting hungry, which I couldn’t tell anyone as I was too scared. A vendor was selling chop, I gave Rs. 100 hiding from other’s eyes and told him to give us a chop. The remaining amount the police told that the vendor would return back when I would be released from the jail.
Next day, I was booked under section 151 of the IPC and those who had beaten my father mercilessly turned up at the police station and jeered at me if you would speak against us then this would be our fate. I was crying and I was quite worried that my father was in the hospital. After being released from the jail, I had sleepless nights as those threatening me to kill hovered in my mind. I had to take sleeping pills continuously for 25 days. Then also, I used to scream and wake up during the nights thinking of my days in the lock up and the police high handedness. I used to hide myself whenever I saw those people who had threatened me of dire consequences if I dared to make any complaint against them.
Shambu Jaiswal and his accomplices told my advocate if I dared to file any complaint against them, then would get me killed by branding me as a ‘Naxalite’. Then I started working in Rahat Times, a local Hindi daily newspaper, where police officials used to come at its office. Seeing the police, I used to get scared. Whenever my senior, Santosh Patel used to send me to bring tea or betel, then I gathered courage to talk to the police. I used to talk to them in hushed tone. Gradually, I could overcome my fear against the police. Whenever I was sent alone to ‘kotwali’ (police station) to gather information about the criminal cases so the fear was deeply embedded in my mind that I used to go to the court and told tell lies. But now I am quite enthusiastic, that by placing news in our newspaper we are able to serve the people. It gives me quite a relief. When my senior, Santosh came to know about police high handedness over me, then he generates confidence in me. He told that me that nobody would harm you, do not fear anyone, you have to put up a brave front against those who threaten you with dire consequences. It gave me courage and belief in me. Sometimes, those people threaten me on phone that they would abduct and kill me.
Today I am keen to help others. When police officer, Gyanendra Mishra was demoted to lower rank and transferred I was quite happy. Even after helping other in their problems, the fear lurks in my mind that police would again implicate us in false cases and kill me. Then also, I am fighting for those killed by police. Charges under Sections 147, 323, 325,504, 506 and 324 of IPC were framed then also police did not act so they have lost hope over the law enforcers. Sometimes, I lose control over my brain. Then I took the onerous responsibility of fighting against the police excess. Now, I get constant support and encouragement from the people. If I see police beaten by police, it shivers my spine. It seems as if I and my father are being beaten. Still, there is slight fear in my mind.
Testimony Report by Vijay Bharti and Upender under RCT-PVCHR initiative
Sunday, April 05, 2009
An untold story of a family
Dr.Lenin Raghuvanshi 4/4/2009 11:39:11 AM(IST)
I am Munni Devi and reside in S 18/ 149, Nadesar, Rajabazar, Varanasi. I have five children, three sons and two daughters. Among them two sons and a daughter had been married. After the marriage, my sons have their own separate household arrangements.
When my youngest son, Guddu was 7-8 years old, I sent him to Mumbai along with a neighbourer. He earned his livelihood selling toys in the metropolis and even used to send us some money. There he grew into a young man.
When my sons and a daughter were married my youngest son could not attend their marriage. Whenever he used to come to Varanasi he was accompanied by our neighbourer, who had migrated to Mumbai for earning a livelihood.
Once, when Guddu had come to Varanasi, after attending a marriage ceremony at Lanka while coming back to home he was arrested in the way and taken to police station.
Next day, in the morning, people known to us rushed to our home, informing that my son has been arrested, which they had read in the newspapers. We were dumbstruck as my ears could not believe that. They showed us the newspaper in which the story of my son’s arrest had appeared. Then also I could not believe my eyes.
Then, we rushed to the kutchery (local court) where we came to know that two boys, including my son have been nabbed on murder charges. It seemed much more shocking than death. I was quite definite that my son was falsely implicated. Whatever might be the reason he was my son, who at least used to earn on his own.
However, I lived a hand to mouth existence, where my husband turned out to be worthless earning not a single penny for the family. Even he had no attachment towards the family, for past 10 to 12 years. For running the household and to feed my children, I took up stitching work. But that too suffered a setback, when I and my son had to go to the court at regular intervals. I had never faced such turbulent situation. I have to take loan and sell my meager land holding, to fight my son’s case. After one and half years, my youngest son was released from the jail. His release brought relief to us. Guddu, my son was shifted to my daughter’s brother-in-law’s house to save him from police harassment.
One day, there also plain clothed policeman reached there and picked up Ashok Pradhan and my youngest son. They were taken to police station and a boy witnessing that rang up and informed us. Again, my innocent son was framed in false case, it came in my mind. After my son’s arrest, I and my family members had to run from pillar to post to know the whereabouts of my son.
After knowing that my son is in Bhelupur police station, then we rushed there. Reaching there, we were not allowed to meet my son. Then, after much persuasion we were permitted to meet my son. Seeing my son at the police station I was thinking what fate had befallen on me. It would have been better if I would have died. In the cold wintry night, we used to spend our nights outside the police station. After 6 to 7 days of my son’s arrest, a false case of drug trafficking was booked against my son. He was behind the bars for two and half months. We got scared. Still my head starts reeling remembering that.
Doctor also advises not to burden my brain. He says if you die then who would take care of your son. After two and half months my son was released on bail. Then I was quite assured that police is responsible for turning an innocent to a criminal. After the bail I sent back my son to Mumbai. All of my family members are scared of police.
Just a fortnight back police again came and asked my grandson where your uncle is? He told that he is in Mumbai. Then the police started abusing my other son and took him to the police station. Till we reached the police station he was released. Police has been constantly threatening us. They say that if we don’t call back our son back from Mumbai then they would be forced to auction our house and evict us.
Recently, my grandson accompanying me to a shop to purchase jalebi, seeing a policeman standing there he got scared and asked me, ‘Grandma, I don’t need jalebi, let’s go back to home.’
Always a fear lurks our mind that anytime police can knock the door. I cannot sleep in the night. My grandson is quite fearful seeing the police. He is scared of police’s abusive language and its uniform. Its always fear in my mind that if my son moves out, would police catch him, thinking that he starts shivering. Though what I have faced had generated confidence in me.
Based on testimony of Munni Devi by RCT-PVCHR initiative against TOV
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Election and weavers
Friday, April 03, 2009
Dr. Lenin Column on Musahar